A rubber dinghy of migrants arrives at the port of Lampedusa | Photo: ANSA/Elio Desiderio
A rubber dinghy of migrants arrives at the port of Lampedusa | Photo: ANSA/Elio Desiderio

A total of 1,400 migrants and refugees are currently on Lampedusa. Hundreds arrived in small boats last week. Migrant reception facilities on the Italian island have been overcrowded for several weeks.

An estimated 1,400 migrants were on the island of Lampedusa in migrant hotspots and local church shelters managed by Father Carmelo La Magra as of Friday.

On Thursday night alone, there were seven landings -- 276 refugees reached the island over the course of eight hours. Earlier on Thursday, 250 people had already arrived on six boats.

Most of the boats were intercepted by the port authority and finance police before reaching the shore.

However, one boat with ten people aboard managed to arrive at the Madonnina pier on its own, and 72 migrants were stopped by Carabinieri police only after landing at Cala Francese beach.

Some migrants fled

About 40 Tunisians managed to flee the migrant hotspot in Imbriacola on Thursday and reportedly walked around without face-masks. 

Many local residents, in addition to taking photographs of the migrants in the area of Ponente, called for law enforcement to take the migrants back to the facility where they are supposed to remain in quarantine.

The Agrigento prefecture is working on a plan to transfer more migrants off Lampedusa. However, it is having difficulty finding available spots in the various migrant reception facilities across Italy.

Not enough help from EU?

Regarding migrants and their redistribution, Sicily Governor Nello Musumeci said that "Europe has to do its part."

"Thus far, the intervention of the national government in Europe seems to have been absolutely inefficient," he said. "Sicily cannot become a refugee camp for these young people, who have been on the one hand hit by destiny, and on the other hand convinced that Sicily can be a launching pad for a better and different life."

He added: "Of course, it's a legitimate wish, but not all wishes become rights if you take into account that some arrive with birds in cages and dogs in their arms. Also because it becomes hard to tell Sicilians to always wear face masks and maintain social distancing and then witness a series of images that don't seem to have the emergency criteria for those who come from zones of war or persecution."

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